UNLOCKED: The Watchtower 7/3/17

By: Travis Allen

Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy. And if you enjoy playing Magic, make sure to visit https://scry.land to find PPTQs, SCG Opens, and more events on an interactive map with worldwide coverage. Find Magic near you today.

Starcitygame’s Invitational wrapped yesterday, and at the top of the pile stood…Modern Death and Taxes? Huh? It did well at Vegas not too long ago also. Is this deck…good? I refuse to believe it. There’s no way such a thing can possibly be a real strategy. It’s good against Death’s Shadow. That’s all I’m willing to accept. It’s been in the format forever, people have been trying to make it work for just as long, and the only reason it’s seeing any success now is because it’s a useful metagame predator.

There’s not a lot to work with there either, as best as I can tell. It’s not so much that the individual cards are basically bad (they are) or that there’s multiple printings of everything (there is), it’s that the cards don’t have any other homes, and their current home is not going to be a dominant force in the meta. Blade Splicer has never been less than a four-of in the deck, but where else are you seeing that card played? Leonin Arbiter, Mirran Crusader, Thalia — there’s nowhere else these are seeing play, which limits their desirability considerably.

Other than that, Hour of Devastation previews wrapped up last week. James and I covered most of it over on MTG Fast Finance; take a listen there for our full opinions. That will be hitting shelves shortly, just in time for everybody to stop playing Magic because the weather is nice.

Matter Reshaper (Foil)

Price Today: $8
Possible Price: $20

One of the takeaways from this SCG Invitational is that Eldrazi Tron is beyond a (death’s) shadow of a doubt a top-tier contender in Modern. It was everywhere, both in the Invitational lists as well as the Open lists. It’s unlikely the deck will get any new tools for awhile, but it doesn’t matter, because the ones it got in Oath of the Gatewatch are so potent to begin with.

Last week, Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher foils jumped from $10 or so. They’re hanging around in the low $20s at the moment, and supply is quite low. I’m expecting these to pull to $30 soon. They’re the banner threats in the deck, and certainly the powerhouses of the strategy.

Thought TKS and Smasher are frequently the cards that get your opponent dead, Matter Reshaper is right behind them in a supporting role in virtually all successful lists. With an Eldrazi Temple he comes down on turn two, provides a respectable clock, and most importantly, there’s few clean ways to answer the card. A Path to Exile gets rid of Reshaper without providing additional advantage to your opponent, but Fatal Push, a major newcomer to Modern, still provides the trigger. This type of additional card resource in a deck that generally doesn’t play much in the way of raw card draw is remarkably useful, in the same way that similar effects in red decks are always put to good use.

With foils of both TKS and Smasher moving strong recently, and inventory of Reshaper thin as it is, this seems set up to cruise to $20 easily within the year.

Eldrazi Temple (Foil)

Price Today: $15
Possible Price: $30

Sorry to back-to-back Eldrazi specs, but what do you want from me. It’s been a consistently strong deck even after the bannings, and the prices aren’t yet reflective of its competency and power.

What makes Eldrazi Temple even more appealing than some of the other options therein is that it’s more flexible than, say, Reality Smasher. Nobody is ever going to play Reality Smasher without Temple, right? But you’ll certainly see Temple show up places without Smasher. Certain stripes of Death and Taxes that employed Wasteland Strangler ran it. Legacy Eldrazi decks have used it. It’s good in any wacky Eldazi deck that plays, you know, the real Eldrazi. Basically it’s the same concept as TKS and Smasher, except even more prevalent.

Without a doubt the largest knock against Temple is that it was reprinted in MM15, but that’s rapidly becoming less of an issue. It’s now been two years since that reprinting, and the excess supply has been absorbed by the market. Foil prices are shoring up and supply is dwindling, and after the egg-on-the-face moment that the most recent Eldrazi were, we’re unlikely to see Wizards eager to return to that particular tribe any time soon. There’s an ample supply of non-foil copies, so Wizards is probably safe to leave these alone for at least a year or two.

In that time, I fully expect foils to climb. It’s always a four-of, it’s a top-tier Modern deck, and there’s demand for Temple from all sorts of other places across the Magic spectrum.

Anointed Procession (Foil)

Price Today: $9
Possible Price: $20

Modern specs tend to draw my attention most frequently, since they often have the shortest time from purchase to liquidation, or at least, it feels that way. EDH hits are undeniably one of the best investment vehicles in the game though, and the rash of Inventions spiking is in no small part due to that. After all, Modern players aren’t the ones shelling out $200 for an Inventions Sol Ring.

Anointed Procession is the latest “duh” EDH card, as it’s the white Doubling Season. This means that A. GW decks get both cards, and B. decks without green (they exist, I swear) now have access to not quite a facsimile, but something close enough. If there’s one thing EDH players love — LOVE — to do, it’s poop out tokens. And double them. They even got a cool new tool in Hour of Devastation; God-Pharoah’s GIft. (Which could end up a Standard card itself, and my god, is it possible Anointed Procession could end up Standard playable in a deck piloted by someone other than Sam Black?)

Non-foil copies of Procession are in the $4+ range as it is, which amazingly enough, makes it the most valuable rare in Amonkhet! That’s nuts. With demand this high, there’s no way vendors can keep any copies in stock. Foil supply has got to be drying up rapidly.

Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.